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This Colorful Kit Lets Kids Build a Programmable Camera

Kano Camera Kit
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There are a lot of STEM toys that teach kids the joys of programming by having them build and control a robot. The Kano Camera Kit takes a different approach, providing children as young as six with the pieces to build a 5-MP camera, which they can then program. Due out in 2019 for an estimated price of $99, the kit helps kids develop serious programming skills while having fun shooting animated GIFs, or illuminating the camera with flashing rainbow colors.

The Kano Camera Kit comes in a box with about half-a-dozen pieces you have to snap together, and a simple instruction manual that explains how to do it. The final product is a small, clear box with bright yellow buttons on top, and an LED ring around the lens on the front. The LED lights offer full RGB functionality, and you can program them to flash in different colors.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Using the free Kano Code app, kids can make the camera shoot pictures and videos with all kinds of filters and outputs, including pixelation and animated GIFs. They can also write programs that use sound to trigger the camera. During a demo, Kano showed us a code sample that made the camera take a picture when you clap your hands.

Available for macOs, Windows and Linux, the Kano Code app uses a block-based programming language, but also shows you the equivalent JavaScript code while you work. A future version of the software will let you write directly in JavaScript, so kids can go from dragging blocks around to typing in their commands.

Though the Camera Kit won't be on sale until next year, users can register now to receive an update when it starts shipping.

Originally published on Tom's Guide.